Tallying the supercentenarians

| July 23, 2014
Alexander Imich x
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

One month or so before he died, Alexander Imich, the world’s oldest man, asked a friend, “How long can this go on?”

The then 111 year old—who was born in Poland the year the Wright Brothers first took flight, and survived a stint in a Soviet gulag before immigrating to the United States in 1951—was informed in April that he just became the world’s oldest known living man. In an interview in his New York City apartment, Imich told The New York Times, “I never thought I’d be that old,” though wryly added that it’s “not like it’s the Nobel Prize.”

Imich only held the title for about a month-and-a-half, however. He died in June, bequeathing the position to Sakari Momoi, a 111-year-old in Japan who was born just a day after Imich, on February 5, 1903. After Imich’s passing, it likely did not take long for the news to reach Momoi.

“Oh yes, people know if they’re next in line,” says L. Stephen Coles, a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-founder of the Gerontology Research Group. Everybody wants to go down in history, he says.

Since 1990, the Gerontology Research Group has assumed the role of record keepers for the world’s supercentenarians, or persons older than 110. Previously, research groups, individual countries and private hobbyists tracked supercentenarians for studies or for census purposes, or simply out of personal interest. But that information was not compiled into a central, standardized database, and it was largely closed to public viewing. “I thought, this ought to be available online, so everyone can know about it,” Coles says.

To fill this need, around 15 years ago Coles and his colleagues began publishing their database online. Most attention falls on one list in particular, which they call “Table E.” Neatly filed in chronological order, Table E contains all of the world’s confirmed, still-living supercentenarians.

Read the full, original story: Keeping track of the oldest people in the world


The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend